LOL. GUYS NO THEY ARE NOT.

Me laughing

Me laughing.

They do not change your personality. They are not a crutch. They are not a happy pill. They are not weakness.

I mean, I wish they were any of those things. That would be awesome. But they aren’t.

I wish I could pop a little pill and suddenly not hate everyone and everything. But that’s just not how it works.

Technically, here’s how they work.

SSRIs block the reabsorption (reuptake) of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Changing the balance of serotonin seems to help brain cells send and receive chemical messages, which in turn boosts mood. Most antidepressants work by changing the levels of one or more of these neurotransmitters

But that’s really confusing and doesn’t make much sense to me. So here’s how I imagine it all playing out.

Let’s start with introducing Serotonin, or the happy chemical. It helps out with well-being and happiness.

Serotonin

Here’s how Happy and her friends normally do their job.

SerotoninWork

When happy get’s to work, her and her friends go about doing what they love. Spreading joy and joyness all over the brain.

But, sometimes this process can go wrong. When you’re depressed or anxious, here’s what’s going on with Happy.

SerotoninWorkWrong

For whatever reason, Happy decides she isn’t needed at work. So she goes home. She  probably binge watches GOT, which is no use to you.

So here’s where SSRI’s come in. My personal fav is Zoloft, I imagine him as a former Russian gymnast who rules with an iron fist.

Zoloft

He’s easily angered by laziness. So here’s how he handles that.

SerotoninZoloft

Happy isn’t super stubborn, so she does what she’s told.

And that’s how it works. SSRI’s work with the brain chemicals you already have. And it works best in in conjunction with therapy. I prefer talk therapy or CBT, which I’ll probably talk about more another time.

But here’s how SSRI’s feel. Because feeling better is what I’m all about.

If we think about our emotions as waves, as up and downs, and depression and anxiety are the downs, all SSRI’s do is soften the downs. They keep them from going as low.

They don’t prevent downs, or keep you up high artificially. All your emotions are still there, you just have a buddy fighting with you when the downs happen.

I’ve had a few friends ask me when is it the right time to try medication. This is my initial response.

giphy (3)

But a more rational response is this.

If you are trying to dig into the cause of your depression and anxiety, and you find yourself more depressed or more anxious, you are a good candidate for anti depressants. They aren’t a magic cure, but an incredibly useful tool for digging into your mental state.

And if pride is keeping you from medicine, because you “can deal with it on your own,” here’s what I have to say to you.

giphy (4)

Until next time.

Sarah C.

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